• sleep;
  • polymorphism;
  • BDNF;
  • EEG;
  • genetics

Previous studies have suggested that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) participates in the homeostatic regulation of sleep. The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of the Val66Met functional polymorphism of the BDNF gene on sleep and sleep EEG parameters in a large population-based sample. In total 337 individuals participating in the São Paulo Epidemiologic Sleep Study were selected for analysis. None of the participants had indications of a sleep disorder, as measured by full-night polysomnography and questionnaire. Spectral analysis of the EEG was carried out in all individuals using fast Fourier transformation of the oscillatory signals for each EEG electrode. Sleep and sleep EEG parameters in individuals with the Val/Val genotype were compared with those in Met carriers (Val/Met and Met/Met genotypes). After correction for multiple comparisons and for potential confounding factors, Met carriers showed decreased spectral power in the alpha band in stage one and decreased theta power in stages two and three of nonrapid-eye-movement sleep, at the central recording electrode. No significant influence on sleep macrostructure was observed among the genotype groups. Thus, the Val66Met polymorphism seems to modulate the electrical activity of the brain, predicting interindividual variation of sleep EEG parameters. Further studies of this and other polymorphic variants in potential candidate genes will help the characterization of the molecular basis of sleep. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.